Tag Archives: Travel

A Clover Story

There was a time in my life that whenever I felt bad, I would go looking for clovers. It became a habit around five years ago, when I’d just moved from Manila and noticed that clovers were more abundant in Tokyo. I have always loved the magical stories people weave in everyday objects, so naturally, I felt drawn to the idea of searching for a four-leaf clover.

Of all the times I looked for one, I was only able to find it once. I was on my way home from school and by some miracle, a patch of clovers caught my eye. The sidewalks near the University of Tokyo are lined with plenty of small clovers and yet with a glance, a shy four-leaf jumped into sight, as if waiting, asking to be picked and wished upon.

I remember being puzzled at first. I kept counting the leaves to make sure I wasn’t mistaken. And when I finally realized what I was holding was real, I was flooded with euphoria. I pressed it, made a bookmark, and gave it to the person who taught me how to find joy in looking for clovers.

In the years that followed, I remained vigilant whenever I saw clover patches. Never mind that I looked strange crouched and busily looking. It wasn’t really finding one that mattered, it was just knowing that they exist. Like the happiness that momentarily slipped from my fingers, I believed it is out there, waiting to be found.

But in the last two years, I haven’t looked for one at all. I think I learned to temper my moments of sadness with other simple joys. Sadness was, after all, a familiar friend, one that you no longer shut the door to as you grow older; one that you invite in, chat with, and say goodbye to knowing that you’ll see each other again. Continue reading A Clover Story

Have Fun with Farm Animals! Visit Mother Farm in Chiba.

Basic Info:

Location: Futtsu, Chiba
Highlights: Farm animals, animal shows, flower fields, fruit picking, crafts workshop, shopping
Good for: Friends, families, couples, pets
Admission Fees:
Same-day Tickets
Adult – JPY 1,500
Child – JPY 800
Dog – JPY 600
Pre-sold Tickets
Adult – JPY 1,350
Child – JPY 700
*Sold at ticket machines (Loppi, Famiport, etc.) in convenience stores
With Round-trip JR Tickets
Adult – JPY 8,400
Child – JPY 6,000
*Sold at JR View Plaza inside JR Stations and Ekinet (Japanese only)
Hours:
9:00-17:00 on weekends and holidays/9:30-16:30 on weekdays (Feb to November)
9:30-16:00 on weekends and holidays/10:00-16:00 on weekdays (December to January)
 Access:
By Train – Take the JR train from Tokyo Station to Kimitsu Station/Sanukimachi Station
By Highway Bus – Take the bus from Tokyo Station to Kimitsu Station
*There’s a shuttle for Mother Farm at Kimitsu Station
Official English Website: http://www.motherfarm.co.jp/en/

Report

Date Visited: March 25, 2017

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Tickets to Mother Farm have cute animal designs.

The last time I wrote about Mother Farm, I didn’t go in-depth. I went again earlier this year, and given how lovely the place is, I think it deserves an article that talks more about its charms.

Continue reading Have Fun with Farm Animals! Visit Mother Farm in Chiba.

Tsukuba Wanwan Land: A Chance to Pet 500 Dogs and Cats!

Basic Info

Tsukuba Wanwan Land
Location: 〒300-4353 Ibaraki Prefecture, Tsukuba, Numata 5-7-9 (https://goo.gl/maps/WguvrbDV77n)
Hours: 10 AM to 5 PM
Official Website (English, limited)
Admission:
Adult (ages 13 and up) – JPY 1500
Child (ages 3 to 12) – JPY 700
Senior (65 and above) – JPY 750
Infant (ages 0-2) – free
Access:
By Bus: From Tokyo Station, take the bus for Tsukuba Center (approx 70 mins). From Tsukuba Center, take the bus bound for Mt. Tsukuba and get off at Tsukubasanguchi Bus Stop. Tsukuba Wanwan Land is a 10-minute walk from here.
By Train: From Akihabara Station, take the Tsukuba Express to Tsukuba Station.From Tsukuba Center, take the bus bound for Mt. Tsukuba and get off at Tsukubasanguchi Bus Stop. Tsukuba Wanwan Land is a 10-minute walk from here.


Review

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One of the dog pens at Tsukuba Wanwan Land

One of the things I miss sorely about Manila is being in the constant company of dogs and cats. Living the single life in Tokyo doesn’t allow much room for pets, especially if you’re always out and about. Of course, if you live in one of the major cities in Japan, you can very well visit animal cafes to satisfy your need for a furry companion. But with limited hours, overpriced drinks and at times overcrowded shops,  I’d say heading out to the Tsukuba is a much better alternative. Continue reading Tsukuba Wanwan Land: A Chance to Pet 500 Dogs and Cats!

Bloom: An Ode to Cherry Blossoms

Tokyo Past 3’s YouTube channel is back, and it opens its 2017 run with a short piece on mortality and cherry blossoms, recited over shots of spring in the Kanto region.  Shogyō mujō (諸行無常) or “the temporality of all worldly things” happens to be one of my favorite themes, and more often than not I incorporate it in things I make. There’s only so much you can capture given the limits of time, erratic weather and a 9-to-5 job, but overall, I’m rather happy that I got to see them while they lasted.

BGM is “Koi to Komorebi no Toshishitsu” by Ryo Lion. Special thanks to Chihiro for looking over the piece for grammatical and spelling mistakes. He still thinks I cursed him because I sent him a birthday message in Tagalog.

A Chock-full of Chofu: A Day Trip to Jindaiji Botanical Garden, Jindaiji Temple and Yumori no Sato

Date Visited: March 18, 2017
Itinerary:

  • Jindai Botanical Garden
  • Jindaiji Temple
  • Yumori no Sato (Hot Spring)

“Are we still in Tokyo?” My best friend Yui asked the moment we got off the bus. The night before, I had asked her on a whim if she wanted to go to Jindai Botanical Garden.  We knew it was too early and too cold to see flowers, but we decided to do a bit of hanami before we went to have drinks.

It was a grey afternoon, and since we both had not been to the area before, we had no idea what to expect. Chofu was every bit a part of Tokyo, but the area where the park is located is far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city. It was quiet and peaceful, the perfect destination for souls worn out by the daily grind. Continue reading A Chock-full of Chofu: A Day Trip to Jindaiji Botanical Garden, Jindaiji Temple and Yumori no Sato

Early Spring Stroll at Hamarikyu Gardens

Date Visited: March 12, 2017

Nestled in the urban jungle of Shimbashi is the curious world of Hamarikyu Gardens. I say curious because big public parks in Tokyo are usually enclosed in such a way that stepping into them takes you into a different world altogether; Hamarikyu, on the other hand, makes you rediscover the vastness of the sky.

This is in itself a good thing, but it also makes for a peculiar experience. At Hamarikyu, nature and traditional structures abound, but the presence of tall, proud buildings standing in the distance also cannot be ignored. The result, at least for me, is a discord in time and space; a conflation of relaxation and stress, as if reminding the visitor that one cannot exist without the other.

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A pond and an arch bridge, with tall buildings in the distance

Continue reading Early Spring Stroll at Hamarikyu Gardens

29th Sakura Tulip Festa in Chiba Opens April 1st!

Top Image Source: Rurubu

Sakura City, Chiba — Sakura Furusato Square has announced the official dates for the 29th Sakura Tulip Festa. From April 1st to 23rd, guests can enjoy viewing 600,000 multicolored tulips of  70 kinds. This year’s theme is “scented tulips,” including rare species that flora enthusiasts definitely should not miss! Events and activities include traditional Dutch clothing rental, tulip picking, the Windmill Festival and more.  Continue reading 29th Sakura Tulip Festa in Chiba Opens April 1st!